Increase pressure on Russia and strengthen defense capabilities – what experts suggest

Valeriy Chaly, Chairman of the UCMC Board, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA (2015-2019), had a conversation with Oleh Shamshur, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA (2005-2010) and to France (2014-2020), in the “Geopolitical Dialogues” format. The key topics were discussing the ability of the aggressor country to wage a long war with Ukraine, evaluating the process of Euro-Atlantic integration and the impact of the political situation in the USA on the provision of assistance to Ukrainians.

“Recently, there have been a lot of debates in Ukraine about the country’s readiness to fight for a long time, about international partners’ support and how long it will last. We are absolutely sure that all messages that come from Moscow that everything is good with their economy and that they are ready to fight for a long time create a picture that we accept as objective. If at the beginning of the large-scale invasion, they had a financial cushion, which had been created for many years, now this cushion has actually been exhausted. Next year, we’ll see the first serious setbacks in Russia’s financing of territories under occupation and occupying troops, and the concurrent implementation of the internal social contract,” Valeriy Chaly said.

According to Oleh Shamshur, it’s hard to give an objective assessment when you are away. Russia’s economy is definitely suffering from sanctions. It should be noted that a big part of them is designed for a long effect. Yet, we must admit that Russia’s economy has endured. Therefore, now it’s absolutely necessary to look again at the sanctions regime that was created. On the one hand, this regime should be made more rigid. But equally important is the need to eliminate the loopholes that exist in this regime.

“Now there is a wave of pessimistic and depressing publications. The problems are clear. It would be interesting to hear what must be done to solve this problem. Yes, the situation is hard, but I’m far from falling into fatalism. There is no alternative to Russia’s military defeat,” he emphasized.

His interlocutor called the policy of those NATO countries, which have calmed down that the war won’t come to their borders, an ostrich policy. Valeriy Chaly told how CNN stopped him so that he didn’t touch on the topic of Russian planes’ collision with NATO planes.

“This desire to close their eyes to reality and not respond will allow us to more soberly assess their intentions and readiness,” the diplomat added. – They say that we should thank everyone rather than ask for more. However, the life of a Ukrainian soldier is worth more than the plane costing millions of dollars. I assure you: You won’t do anything with airplanes and grenade launchers alone. Nothing can be achieved without trained, professional, motivated people.”

Oleh Shamshur stressed the importance of security as a key issue of the situation. If peaceful development is ensured to Ukraine, then completely different money will come to it, especially from private investors. Secondly, the West has understood that it is not about the undermining of the European security architecture by Russia, but about its complete destruction.

“What we see on the example of the OSCE is a pitiful sight, and it shows that the old system has exhausted itself. We need to build new ones. I support the opinion that Western policy towards Russia is a policy of new containment,” he said, urging the audience to be realistic. The agreements that are currently being discussed are not guarantees. In these conditions, it is necessary to strengthen our defense capabilities and use the available opportunities. If you look at the NATO’s policy and the main players of the anti-Putin coalition, you can see that it was aimed at localizing the war within the borders of Ukraine. It is difficult for me to imagine how NATO countries will support Ukraine in this struggle by sending their troops. Perhaps this will happen when Russian aggression spills over into the NATO countries. We need to thoroughly read the documents and see how the fifth article is worded and how the security guarantees for Israel are defined. What we should count on at the summit in Washington is a clear statement of the beginning of the process of Ukraine joining the alliance,” Oleh Shamshur believes.

He is convinced that it is necessary to rebuild the military industry, to continue reforming the army, and to рut the life of the country on a security footing: “I personally do not believe that a radical military defeat of Russia can become a trigger for processes within this country. In any case, Ukraine must be ready to defend itself.”